Sunday, March 14, 2009 published a CiF article by Kent Miller: The real agony of autism. It contained a common error about the MMR vaccine and mercury (UK thiomersal, US thimerosal):
A special US court overseeing a vaccination-liability fund recently ruled that the parents of an autistic girl, Michelle Cedillo, won’t get any money from it. The judge put a pretty firm kibosh on the argument that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine – or its mercury preservative, thimerosal – had caused Michelle’s disability.
Now, we have been round this topic with both the Guardian and The Observer on previous occasions.
The MMR vaccine does not, and never has, contain(ed) mercury preservative (thimerosal, thiomersal) because it is a live vaccine, a preservative would kill the relevant parts of the vaccine.
The one positive part of this story is that last time, it took us 5-6 weeks to persuade the Guardian and The Observer to issue a correction of this nature. This time, a correction appeared within 15 hours, even if they did not make it explicit. The contentious text now reads:
The judge put a pretty firm kibosh on the argument that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine – or the mercury preservative, thimerosal – had caused Michelle’s disability. [Our emphasis.]
A subtle change but a very important one.
So, congratulations to CiF for correcting this with comparative celerity.